Maison Harlem or a walk through West Harlem


Harlem is more and more having nice restaurants opening. Maison Harlem is one of them. Located in the very quiet West Harlem, this French restaurant is a nice place for brunch once you are done with the traditional Gospel church and if you are not ready to do the line in one of those Soul Food restaurants serving fried chicken. Avoid the Abyssinian Baptist Church since it seems all the NYC tourists have been told to get there. Canaan Baptist Church has also tourists I won’t lie, but at least if you are a little early you will probably get a seat and will forget those people holding their city guides as soon as you listen to the different choirs.

Canaan Baptist Church
132 W 116th St
New York, NY 10026
(212) 866-0301

It seems everybody is French at Maison Harlem, so I felt home very quickly. You first walk through the bar when your table is ready. The atmosphere is very friendly, and feels different and more relax than any downtown restaurants.
As part of the food, I can only say it was excellent. If you order the coq-au-vin, be patient and order an appetizer to kill the time they cook it to order. The portion was generous, and you feel definitely you are in France with this traditional dish.

Maison Harlem
341 St Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10027
(212) 222-9224

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You may have still some room for a desert, head to Levain Bakery, it has the best chocolate chip cookie ever. These are so dense and heavy you may probably need a friend to split it. The Harlem location is bigger than the one in the Upper West Side and offer other pastries I have not tried. I can just tell you to order the chocolate chip walnut cookie. And to go for a run later.

Levain Bakery
2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10026

If you are in West Harlem and want to visit around, check Columbia University and its campus. A couple of block down is the Cathedral St John the Divine, the 4th largest Christian church in the word. Started late 19th century, it was interrupted by the two World War and remains unfinished.
If by any chance you like history, art or you are just curious about seeing parts from five French cloistered abbeys reassembled brick-by-brick before being shipped to New York, head to The Cloisters. Besides the view on the Hudson is blind blowing, like all the 12th-15th century pieces of art this branch of the MET museum features.

Columbia University
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-1754

The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025
(212) 316-7540

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Dr
New York, NY 10040
(212) 923-3700

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Dominique Ansel Bakery


Every time I go study abroad, I crave for food I usually do not eat back home. I’ve never eaten so much cheese since I’m in the US, allowing myself eating French fries, French toast, French croissants because sometimes, I agree, I miss home.

Dominique Ansel Bakery is part of these French places in NY I got excited about, and I would be ready to make the trip everyday to Soho just to try all the pastries. He worked as the Executive Pastry Chef under the famous chef Daniel Boulud, and his immaculate bakery a bit too bright for me, smells heaven, and pastries look even better.


Obviously I tried the only American pastry of the shop: the pistachio sticky bun because 1) I’m always trying to get one as good as Flour in Boston and 2) I irreparably choose everything that is pistachio flavor. As a result, it’s sticky, tasty, not to sweet, a real puff pastry with whole pistachios.
To be able to try as many restaurants as I can, I force myself not to go back to a place I tried. Unfortunately I will have to make an exception for this one and get this gorgeous Religieuse.

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